Most people were told to sit up straight during school, but despite this lots of adults have bad posture. This is because many people, such as office workers, spend the majority of their days sat down.
However, a bad posture can cause lots of different health problems, and it can even affect the skeletal system. When people slouch, hunch over or slump forward while they are sat down they create misalignment along their spinal column.
Here are 4 things that can happen to you if you have bad posture.
1. Loss Of Height
As you grow, your skeletal system coordinates with muscle fibres to make sure that your body is aligned and balanced. However, chronic poor posture will negatively affect growth, as it places extra stress on the vertebrae of the spine. This causes the connective disks to quickly wear down, compressing the bones in the spine. This can lead to reduced height and strength.
2. Joint Stress
Your joints are protected by connective tissue that helps to cushion the joint when it moves. The amount of connective tissue is directly affected by how much weight the joint bears, and a misaligned spine will put extra weight and pressure on certain joints throughout the body. This means that some joints will carry more weight than they should, causing the connective tissue to wear away. This can result in long-term pain and degraded supportive connective tissue. This most commonly affects joints in the spine, shoulders and knees, which can cause other health problems later in life.
Osteoarthritis happens when the connective tissue between joints is worn down, which means there is nothing to protect the bones in the spine from rubbing together. This can be caused by bad posture as bad posture disrupts the load bearing balance of joints in the back. This can cause the affected joints to calcify and fuse to nearby bones, which can be extremely painful. Osteoarthritis cannot be reversed or cured, but the pain can be managed with medication and various forms of physical therapy.
4. Spine Misalignment
If you have good posture, the upper cervical curve, mid thoracic curve and lower lumbar curve of your spine all balance together along an invisible vertical line. The line runs from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, and it makes sure that everything in your body is balanced perfectly as your spine isn’t angled to either side or pushed forward. However a bad posture will disrupt spine alignment by putting extra pressure on one curve, which can cause pain and long-term structural damage to your body.
How To Improve Your Posture
There are a few different things that you can do to improve your posture while you are sitting down.
You can buy a chair that is ergonomically designed to provide proper spinal support. If you want to buy one, make sure that you find one that is designed for your height and weight. If you can’t buy a new chair, you could try placing a small pillow at the bottom of your spine for lumbar support.
Align your back with the back of the chair when you are working, as this will stop you from leaning forward or slouching too much. Re-align your back with the chair whenever you realize that you are slouching.
Keep both of your feet on the ground while you work. If your feet don’t reach the ground use a footrest.
Make sure that your computer or laptop is angled upwards towards you. This will force you to sit upright, rather than encouraging you to slouch to properly see the screen.